Scottish Executive:  Planning for an Older Future - By 2031 the number of people aged over 50 in Scotland is projected to rise by 28% and the number aged over 75 is projected to increase by 75%.  In response to this challenge, the Scottish Executive has published a long-term strategy - All Our Futures: Planning for a Scotland with an Ageing Population and identified six priority areas for action:

·         improving opportunities & removing barriers

·         forging better links between the generations

·         improving & maintaining health & well being

·         improving care, support & protection for older people

·         developing housing, transport & planning services

·         offering learning opportunities throughout life


The Executive has allocated £27m of funding to support the strategy, which includes the establishment of a National Forum on Ageing and a new Scottish Centre for Intergenerational Practice to improve links between young and old


Additional funding of £14m in 2007-08 will be made on fuel poverty programmes, including the Central Heating Programme.  Another £10m of funding has also been allocated to help homeowners adapt their homes to meet their changing needs and help older people stay in their homes & communities for longer.

Press release ~ All Our Futures: Planning for a Scotland with an Ageing Population – Summary and Action Plan ~ All Our Futures – Volume Two ~ Closed consultation document ~ Sharing Experience - Scotland's Ageing Population ~ Scottish Executive – Older people ~ Online Interview with Communities Minister on the ageing strategy ~ Future Forum: 'Growing Older and Wiser Together: A Futures View on Positive Ageing' ~ Scottish parliament news release on Future Forum report ~ Central Heating Programme ~ Telecare – JIT (Joint Improvement Team) ~ Age Concern Scotland ~ Black & Minority Ethnic Elders ~ Help the Aged ~ COSLA ~ Scottish Pensioners' Forum ~ Age Positive ~ SPICe Briefing - Aging ~ The Employers Forum on Age ~ The National Care Forum


DfES:  Standards from the time they are born - The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has published a new framework for high quality development, learning & care of all children in their early years.  The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards for development, learning & care of all children from birth to five.


All registered early years providers and schools will be required to use the EYFS from September 2008, to ensure a high quality experience that supports the child's development in whichever childcare setting parents choose.


The framework builds on, and replaces, the non-statutory Birth to Three Matters guidance, Foundation Stage curriculum for 3 & 4 year olds and national standards for day-care.  The government claims that it builds a coherent & flexible approach that removes the artificial divide between learning & care and creates seamless support for children's development from birth to five.


The EYFS will also be published as an online tool, with practical demonstrations showing people how they can use the framework in a way that is tailored to the needs of individual children in their care and carry out the planning that will ensure every child benefits from it.

Press release ~ Teachernet, Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) ~ Thomas Coram Early Childhood Centre ~ Sure Start - Capital funding ~ Children's Workforce Development Council ~ QCA: Principles for early years education ~ QCA - Foundation stage 3-5 ~ Early years - The debate on when to start formal teaching ~ Choice for parents, the best start for children – a ten year strategy for childcare ~ Directgov – Early Years ~ Early Years Digest  ~ Early years and childcare - Every Child Matters


P&HSO:  Cash strapped PCTs face yet another call on their funding - The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, has reported on the results of her investigation into complaints about the amount of redress received by some elderly & disabled people who had belatedly received NHS funding for their care.


Complainants alleged that the amount of recompense they had received from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) did not compensate them fully for all the financial losses they had incurred while funding their own essential long term care.


The Ombudsman found that there was inconsistency in the way PCTs calculated the amount of redress due and was clear that PCTs should compensate any complainants who could provide evidence of financial loss, unless the amount of money involved was small in relation to the total amount due.


The Ombudsman recognised that PCTs were acting on advice from the Department of Health and she concluded the Department had been maladministrative in deciding on its formula for redress and in the way it communicated its approach to the Health Service.  Ms Abraham recommended that the Department should develop & distribute properly considered national guidance on continuing care redress.

Press release ~ DH response to report ~ Retrospective continuing care funding and redress ~ Continuing care – Background papers (click on Continuing Care)  ~ Single assessment process ~ DH – Long-term conditions ~ Royal Commission on Long Term Care for the Elderly ~ DH – Older People’s Services ~ National framework for NHS continuing healthcare and NHS funded nursing care in England: Closed consultation ~ Financial care models in Scotland and the UK  ~ OFT: Fair Terms for care ~ Future demand for long-term care in the UK: A summary of projections of long-term care finance for older people to 2051 


NAO:  Still much to be done to eradicate rural poverty - More than 1.1 billion people worldwide are living in extreme poverty and around 75% of the world’s poor live in rural areas.  The Department for International Development’s aid programmes have helped the rural poor in developing countries, but poverty in rural areas must be substantially reduced if DFID is to meet its targets, according to a report by the National Audit Office.


The Department for International Development has performance targets designed to contribute to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, to halve poverty by 2015.  The rural poor tend to be significantly poorer than the poor in non-rural areas and have lower rates of access to services such as education & health. 


Despite trends towards urbanisation, two-thirds of the world’s poor will still live in rural areas in 2015 so tackling rural poverty is vital if DFID is to meet these targets.  The report looks at how DFID is addressing rural poverty through its projects & programmes, funding of multilateral institutions and funding of research.


The report found that DFID is delivering real benefits to the rural poor.  However, lack of reliable data in many developing countries means that it is hard to assess whether rural areas are receiving their fair share of investment.  The situation is not helped by the fact that there has been a decrease in the number of staff with explicit expertise in rural issues and wide variations in the time spent by DFID overseas staff in rural areas.

Press release ~ Tackling Rural Poverty in developing countries ~ Executive Summary ~ Supporting paper:Staff survey results (64 KB) ~ Supporting paper: DFID - Study on Rural Poverty in Developing Countries (VLF 2Mb) ~ DFID - eliminating world poverty ~ DFID - Millennium Development Goals -Poverty and Hunger ~ United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals ~ Millennium Development Goals report 2006 ~ Better livelihoods for poor people: The role of Agriculture ~ Can Microfinance ‘Halve’Poverty By 2015: A Review By Sirajul Islam ~ Oxfam - Trade - The Rural Poverty Trap ~ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) ~ Overseas Development Institute - Rural Policy and Governance Group ~ BBC NEWS - Is India's rural poverty plan working?


Party Funding Review:  No agreement yet on size of trough and how it will be filled - Stricter limits on the amount of money political parties can spend and on what they can receive in single donations, are among a package of recommendations published by the Review of the Funding of Political Parties undertaken by Sir Hayden Phillips. 


In his report, Strengthening Democracy: Fair and Sustainable Funding of Political Parties, Sir Hayden states that the main parties are in broad agreement on a number of the issues, but not yet on two in particular; the nature of a cap on donations and spending limits.  However, Sir Hayden believes that an agreement is however ‘within reach’ and proposes direct talks between the parties to resolve outstanding issues.


Among Sir Hayden's recommendations are:

·         the parties should agree voluntarily to binding limitations on donations 

·         the two largest parties should reduce spending by about £20m each over the lifetime of a Parliament

·         public funding should be increased to provide a degree of financial stability & encourage public engagement

·         the Electoral Commission needs to be a swift and nimble-footed regulator


Sir Hayden proposes two models for public funding:

·         one, a pence-per-vote scheme based on electoral success, and

·         an internet-based subscriber scheme where a person can give £5, or more, and it is matched by £5 of public funding. 

Press release ~ Standards in Public Life press release ~ Strengthening Democracy: Fair and Sustainable Funding of Political Parties- March 2007 ~ Electoral Commission ~  Public Perspectives: The future of party funding in the UK Interim report - Research Study Conducted for The Electoral Commission/COI 2006 ~ Electoral Commission - Loans ~ Electoral Commission - Donors ~ Hansard – Principles of party funding ~ Constitutional Affairs Select Committee ~ July 1999 Report ~ The Government's proposals for legislation in response to the Fifth Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (1999) ~ EC paper from 2004


CRE:  Still a question of ‘We know Best’ as far as politicians are concerned? - Initial findings from the CRE's formal investigation into race equality in physical regeneration suggest that it will be important to assess how housing regeneration might affect community cohesion, as evidence from the first stage of the regeneration formal investigation has highlighted a number of concerns, such as:

·         poor housing conditions

·         the shortage of affordable homes, as well as

·         a lack of choice, particularly for ethnic minority communities


Key issues brought to the CRE's attention so far include:

·         Feeling from organisations working on the ground of not being supported enough in their work to include ethnic minority communities in the planning, implementation & evaluation of regeneration schemes

·         Concerns that the aspirations & needs of ethnic minority communities are not fully understood

·         Some regeneration schemes are having a disproportionate negative impact on ethnic minority groups

·         Examples of ‘tokenistic’ consultation with ethnic minority communities and their representatives

·         Concerns that the effects of new housing projects and schemes are not being adequately monitored

·         Reports that social or affordable housing in regeneration schemes has not been adequately integrated


As part of its current consultation, the CRE is keen to hear from private and voluntary sector organisations involved in all aspects of physical regeneration, including housing, by 31 March 2007.

Press release~ CRE Statutory Code of Practice in Housing ~ Regeneration formal investigation: Private sector call for evidence ~ DCLG – Regeneration ~ British Urban Regeneration Association ~ English Partnerships ~ Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum ~ Regeneration: A simpler approach for Wales ~ The Cave Review of Social Housing Regulation~ Neighbourhood Renewal Unit ~ Effective participation in anti-poverty and regeneration work and research ~ New Deal for Communities ~ New Deal for Communities evaluation



For information on forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar


For Industry News please click HERE

General News

DTI:  Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King, has challenged scientists to back the Universal Ethical Code for Scientists, in a lecture at Imperial College London, delivered as part of National Science & Engineering Week.


The code has three key aims:

·         Foster ethical research

·         Encourage active reflection among scientists on the implications and impacts of their work

·         Support communication between scientists and the public on complex and challenging issues

Press release ~ DTI - Background on the Universal Ethical Code ~ Consultation & responses on code  (scroll down) ~ National Science and Engineering Week ~ Office of Science and Innovation ~ Council for Science and Technology ~ Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland


DWP:  The Review of the Independent Living Funds has been published as part of the Government's regular review of non-departmental public bodies.  Independent Living Funds enable severely disabled people to live independently in their own homes.


The Review recommends that the Funds should remain in their present form until 2009/10, but in the longer term that there should be a smooth transition towards full integration within a system of personalised budgets.

Press release ~ Review of Independent Living Funds  ~ Independent Living Funds website ~ The British Council of Disabled People (BCODP) ~ Carers UK ~ Directgov – Disabled People ~ Assist UK - Practical Solutions for Independence ~ Other related links


DTI:  New funding for 19 schools across the country (worth up to £20,000 per school over the next 2 years) for projects to inspire black & minority ethnic school students to get involved in science, technology, engineering and maths has been announced by Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.


The new funding will go towards projects such as shadowing scientists in a high-tech bioscience lab, researching wind, wave, solar & nuclear energy and the sustainable use of forests.  The Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) grants were announced as part of National Science and Engineering Week at an event at the Natural History Museum.

Press release ~ List of schools (scroll down) ~ DTI - Black and Minority Ethnic Interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)  ~ SET and the UK’s ethnic minority population ~ SETNET ~ London Colleges: Science, technology, engineering & maths explained ~ National Science and Engineering Week

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DfES:  Education Secretary Alan Johnson announced that learning a foreign language will become a compulsory part of the curriculum for 7-14 year olds, when he welcomed the final report from Lord Dearing and DfES National Director for Languages, Dr Lid King, of the comprehensive review of languages policy.


Agreeing the report's recommendations, Mr Johnson announced a programme of action, saying that the Government would support making languages compulsory for primary schools when the primary National Curriculum is next reviewed, meaning at least seven years language learning for every child in the country.


Among the other key recommendations in the report are:

·         Making secondary school courses more engaging & accessible and developing alternatives to GCSE

·         A new Open School for Languages to support teachers and learners

·         Using the Languages Ladder more widely to record & reward

·         Launching a National Teachers Research Scholarship scheme for languages

·         An additional £3m over four years for a HEFCE scheme to encourage young people to study languages

·         Greater support for those who want to study community

·         No return to compulsion at GCSE, but a review of the present GCSE to maintain the level of challenge and to better engage teenagers

·         Active use of "Immersion Courses" to help pupils manage transition from primary to secondary

·         Steps to increase in the number of Specialist Language Colleges from 300 to 400

Press release ~ Languages Review and report ~ National Languages Strategy ~ Languages Ladder ~ ~ Languages Ladder Assessment Scheme ~ Languages Ladder: Asset Languages ~ National Qualifications Framework ~ Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ~ DfES Languages website ~ The National Advisory Centre for Early Language Learning website ~ DfES – Language Lessons ~ CiLT – National Centre for Languages ~ Modern foreign languages in a vocational context ~ Contribution of foreign languages to economic development ~ BBC Languages ~ DfID's School Partnerships ~ Key Stage 2 Framework for Languages ~ Evaluation report of the Key Stage 2 Language Learning Pathfinder programme (VLF) ~ Strategically important and vulnerable subjects ~ NATFHE response ~ HEFCE – A new approach to strategic subjects 


Defra:  The Government's most recent blueprint for tackling climate change has been set out by Environment Secretary David Miliband in a consultation (closes 12 June 2007).  The draft Climate Change Bill and accompanying strategy, ‘set out a framework for moving the UK to a low-carbon economy, demonstrating the UK's leadership as progress continues towards establishing a post-2012 global emissions agreement’.


Key points of the draft bill, published include:

·         A series of clear targets, including making the UK's targets for a 60% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and a 26 to 32% reduction by 2020 legally binding

·         A new system of legally binding five year ‘carbon budgets’, set at least 15 years ahead

·         A new statutory body, the Committee on Climate Change, to provide independent expert advice & guidance to Government on achieving its targets and staying within its carbon budgets

·         New powers to enable the Government to more easily implement policies to cut emissions

·         A new system of annual open & transparent reporting to Parliament

·         A requirement for Government to report at least every five years on current & predicted impacts of climate change and on its proposals and policy for adapting to climate change

Press release ~ Draft Climate Change Bill and accompanying documents ~ Defra – Climate Change ~ UK Climate Change Programme ~ BBC - Science & Nature - Climate Change ~ Climate Challenge ~ Royal Society ~ FOE – climate change ~ G8 - Gleneagles ~ Science Museum ~ Met Office Climate Change ~ IPCC AR4 WGI ~ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ~ Christian Aid – Climate Change ~ Least Developed Countries Fund ~ Special Climate Change Fund ~ DTI - Climate Change Projects Office


SE:  Recommendations by the Scottish Executive's Advisory Group on Marine and Coastal Strategy (AGMACS) set out a new approach to managing the different uses of Scotland's seas and propose new powers to extend Scotland's responsibility for marine management.


Some of the other recommendations include:

·         A statutory marine spatial planning system to provide management of the marine environment

·         Giving a Scottish Marine Management Organisation having responsibilities to 200 nautical miles

·         A system of Integrated Coastal Zone Management

·         Improvements to the system of marine nature conservation for protecting Scotland's biodiversity

Press release ~ Advisory Group on Marine and Coastal Strategy Report ~ Advisory Group on Marine and Coastal Strategy (AGMACS) ~ Seas the Opportunity: A Strategy for the Long Term Sustainability of Scotland's Coasts and Seas (& other reports) ~ SE - Marine and Coastal Environment ~ 'Its Our Future’ ~ European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)


Cabinet Office:  Ed Miliband, Minister for the Third Sector, has announced that the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) will run a £2million programme to help local authorities harness the potential of the third sector to improve people's lives.


Working as a delivery partner with the Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office, the IDeA will work with 2,000 commissioners from across the public sector - including staff in Jobcentre Plus, health authorities, the National Offender Management Service and local councils.


The National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning - which was first announced in last December's Partnership in Public Services action plan - will receive strategic direction from a steering group including representatives from the third sector and government.

Press release ~ IDeA ~ Partnership in Public Services: an action plan for third sector involvement ~ Office of the Third Sector ~ Third Sector Commissioning Task Force ~ Third sector market mapping report ~ Third Sector Commissioning Task Force: No excuses: embrace partnership now: step towards change ~ NAO:  Working with the Third Sector ~ Financial relationships with third sector organisations - NAO ~ Third Sector Network ~ The role and resourcing of the Third Sector – A view from the Treasury ~ Future Services Network ~ Care Services Efficiency Delivery (CSED) ~ Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) ~ Charities and Public Service Delivery (CC37)Regulating for the future ~ The Charity Commission’s response to the Strategy Unit review ~ Policy statement ‘Charities and public service delivery'  ~ Full cost recovery website ~ National Council for Voluntary Organisations ~ National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service (NACVS) ~ Mind the Gap: A funders’ guide to full cost recovery ~ HM Treasury ~ Change Up ~ Capacity Builders ~ DH – Working with Stakeholders ~ Community Action Network ~ CEMVO : Council of Ethnic Minorities Voluntary Sector Organisations


DfES:  Alan Johnson has published Every Parent Matters which sets out the vital role of parents in improving their child's life chances and educational attainment and how the Government can best help them achieve this, including:

·         a new pilot family learning course for those parents and carers of pre-school children who themselves have literacy & numeracy needs to help them support their children up to the age of five

·         parents with numeracy & literacy needs who have children in year 7 will receive a pack (this autumn) encouraging them to participate in learning activities with their children

·         training will be offered to help all local authorities deliver information sessions for parents whose child is entering primary or secondary school

·         DfES will encourage the establishment of Parent Councils to give many more parents a voice

·         the lessons learned from a Parent Support Advisor pilot will be mainstreamed through extended schools

·         the guidance on Home School Agreements (which provide information about the agreed responsibilities of schools and parents and what is expected of schools) will be strengthened and re-launched


He has also pledged that the Government will launch a National Year of Reading in 2008 to promote reading for pleasure in the family and beyond and help to build a nation of readers.

Press release ~ Every Parent Matters  ~ BookStart ~ Home School Agreements ~ Final Rose report ~ PIRLS international study ~ Reading for purpose and pleasure - An evaluation of the teaching of reading in primary schools ~ Quick Reads ~ World Book Day ~ RAW (Reading and Writing campaign) ~ Reading Recovery ~ Booktrust ~ National Literacy Trust ~ Reading Connects ~ Family Engagement Toolkit ~ National Reading Campaign ~ Family Reading Campaign ~ Every Child a Reader ~ DfES – Learning to read & write ~ Hooked on Books


DH:  Public Health Minister Caroline Flint has launched the Healthy Living Initiative, a programme to help families lead healthier lives.  A report published by the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research Centre and the Department of Health has used evidence from a diverse range of sources to identify the main areas where families with children under 11 need further support to limit the risk of unhealthy weight gain.


The Government's Healthy Living programme is intended to use a range of initiatives aimed at families with young children tackle to tackle barriers which include:

·         limited parental awareness of weight status and associated health risks

·         parental beliefs that a healthy lifestyle is too challenging

·         pressures on parents which undermine healthy food choices

·         a perception that there are limited opportunities for active lifestyles

Press release ~ Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research Centre ~ Top Tips for Top Mums ~ Healthy living scotland ~ Healthy Living Centres ~ NAO – Tackling obesity in England ~ DH – Healthy Living website ~ National Obesity Forum ~ TOAST – The Obesity Awareness & Solutions Trust ~ Food Standards Agency ~ Care pathways for


HC:  The Healthcare Commission has outlined plans, in a consultation (closes 20 April 2007), for a new drive to promote a culture of safety throughout the NHS by using its annual assessments of NHS organisations to raise standards in areas like tackling healthcare-associated infection.  Proposals include:

·         Monitoring rates of C. difficile, as well as MRSA, against locally-set targets, using newly available data

·         Ensuring that every inspection on compliance with core standards assesses performance on safety.  

·         Assessing how well trusts perform against two other new regulatory regimes covering the management of controlled drugs and the use of radiation in procedures such as x-rays

·         Extending assessment of a developmental standard - designed to measure the progress that trusts are making - on safety to ambulance, mental health and primary care trusts, as well as the acute trusts assessed in 2006/2007


It also proposes to develop a set of indicators on stroke services that describe the pathway of care as experienced by patients, from diagnosis through to treatment and aftercare, with the results being published in a similar form to the cardiac website, launched in April 2006.

Press release ~ Papers and questionnaires on the consultation Developing the annual health check in 2007/2008: Have your say ~ DH – Patient Safety ~ Cardiac website ~ DH – Stroke website ~ Good Doctors, Safer Patients ~ Trust, Assurance and Safety, The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century ~ Learning from tragedy keeping patients safe ~ Towards Cleaner Hospitals and Lower Rates of Infection ~ National Patient Safety Agency ~ Saving Lives: a delivery programme to reduce healthcare associated infection (HCAI) including MRSA ~ Health Protection Agency (HPA) ~ Hospital Infection Society ~ Standards of Cleanliness, Cleaning Audit Score Sheet and Cleaning Frequencies ~ A charter for the safety of patients ~ Safety first: a report for patients, clinicians and healthcare managers ~ HPA:  Mandatory Surveillance of Healthcare Associated Infection Report, 2006


Defra:  A new approach to the protection & use of the marine environment has been set out in proposals published for consultation (closes 8 June 2007) by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).


The proposals in the Marine Bill White Paper  include:

·         A new UK-wide system of marine planning

·         A streamlined, transparent and consistent system for licensing marine developments

·         A new mechanism to protect marine biodiversity, including marine protected areas

·         Improvements to the management of marine fisheries

·         The creation of a Marine Management Organisation (MMO)

Press release ~ Marine Bill White Paper ~ Marine Climate Change Impact Partnership's Annual Report Card ~

Defra – Marine Bill ~ Our coasts and seas - making space for people, industry and wildlife (2.5Mb) ~ Maritime State of Nature Report for England: getting onto an even keel (3.7Mb) ~ Our coasts and seas - A 21st Century agenda for their recovery, conservation and sustainable use ~ WWF - Marine Health Check 2005 (2.4Mb) ~ WWF Marine Act Campaign ~ WWF web pages on UK Marine and coastal ecosytems ~ Defra – Review of Marine Nature Conservation ~ Turning the Tide report (Warning VLF 8Mb) ~ Government’s response ~ Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution  ~ EU Maritime Green Paper ~ Related EU documents ~ Sea Vision UK - British Chamber of Shipping ~ UKSeaMap project ~ Magic website ~ Coastal & Marine Resource Atlas


DH:  In a consultation (closes Friday 22 June) and about the future of Payment by Results - the system by which hospitals are paid for the work they do - Andy Burnham has invited views on a number of ways to develop the system for 2008/09 and beyond, including:

·         strengthening the data which underpins Payment by Results

·         more unbundling of tariff prices to help commissioners redesign the care offered to patients, for example offering some services closer to home

·         developing the national tariff by setting some prices based on effective practice, rather than on average costs as at present, and

·         extending the principles of Payment by Results to a wider range of services and settings


As part of the consultation, the Department has established joint working arrangements with the British Association of Day Surgery to inform work on applying the tariff to the same services provided in different settings.

Press release ~ Options for the Future of Payment by Results: 2008/09 to 2010/11 ~ DH – Payment by Results ~ British Association of Day Surgery ~ Audit Commission - PbR ~ King's Fund - Payment by results ~ BMA - Developments in payment by results ~ Natpact - Understanding Payment by Results ~ CIPFA: PbR – German Lessons ~ NLH - Health Management - Payment by Results ~ Payment by Results - The National Council for Palliative Care


Defra:  The Government's most recent blueprint for tackling climate change has been set out by Environment Secretary David Miliband in a draft Climate Change Bill and accompanying strategy for consultation (closes 12 June 2007) – See ‘Policy statements and Initiatives’ section above.


Defra:  A consultation document (closes on 4 June 2007) on the proposals for enforcement of the REACH Regulation in the UK has been published – See ‘EU legislation, initiatives’ below


DfT:  Shipping Minister Stephen Ladyman has launched a consultation (closes 14 September 2007) on proposed changes to the Race Relations Act aimed at ensuring that it complies with EU law relating to the freedom of movement of workers – See ‘EU legislation, initiatives’ below

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

Acas:  Acas, the employment relations service, has launched a new tool for businesses to check how they currently share information & consult with their employees.  The health check takes employers through a range of questions to identify what types of information are shared with employees and through what channels.  Users can also find out how their current consultation processes work.


From April 6 2007, the information & consultation rules will extend to apply to all businesses with 100 - 149 employees.  This means more employers must consult on issues such as strategic direction, job losses, health and safety or mergers.

Press release ~ The Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) Regulations ~ Advisory Booklet ~ Health check document ~ Drive For Change


DH:  Doctors, nurses and call handlers will be able to assess their ability to identify emergencies, the quality of their advice and speed of response using a new clinical audit toolkit to help improve the standard of out-of-hours services.


The department's 'Out of Hours Clinical Audit Toolkit', developed with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), is designed to help PCTs and out-of-hours providers to undertake routine checks to inform, monitor and continually improve the quality of their services.  It contains core criteria for the NHS to develop to reflect individual local circumstances.


Presented in the form of seven practical steps, the toolkit covers the essential aspects of an effective audit programme:

·         Identifying the role of clinical audit within the organisation

·         Defining the Patient Pathway

·         Defining the Audit Criteria

·         Defining an Audit Tool

·         Conducting the Audit

·         Incorporating Learning from other aspects of the service

·         Repeating the Audit Cycle

Press release ~ 'Out of Hours Clinical Audit Toolkit' ~ RCGP UK - Quality ~ National Quality Requirements in the Delivery of Out of Hours Services 2006 ~ DH - Out-of-Hours ~ National Audit Office (NAO) report on GP out-of-hours services ~ House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts: The Provision of Out-of-Hours Care in England ~ NHS Direct - Out-of-hours services ~ BMA - Focus on out-of-hours ~ Europe's GPs fly in to cover unwanted shifts - SocietyGuardian.co.uk ~ Health Committee – GP Out of Hours Services ~ RCN Memorandum ~ RCGP UK - Signposting better patient care ~ NHS - The Improvement Network - Out of hours practitioner service ~ Related news item


DH:  The Department of Health has published new guidance to the NHS on screening new health care workers for tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.  In addition, all those new to performing ‘exposure prone procedures’ that carry an increased risk of cross infection such as surgery or obstetrics and gynaecology, must be cleared for hepatitis C and HIV.


Caroline Flint also announced a limited relaxation of restrictions on hepatitis B infected health care workers who are taking antiviral drug therapy.  Under new guidance, all hepatitis B infected health care workers with relatively low levels of infection will be allowed to perform exposure prone procedures whilst taking long-term drug therapy to suppress replication of the virus.

Press release ~ Health clearance for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV: New healthcare workers ~ Hepatitis B infected healthcare workers and antiviral therapy ~ DH – Health Clearance

Annual Reports

General Reports and other publications

Home Office:  Baroness Jean Corston's report on a review of women in the criminal justice system with particular vulnerabilities has been published.


Baroness Corston called for a greater focus on women in the criminal justice system and highlighted the need to take a radical new approach to address the complex and multiple needs of women who offend and those at risk of offending.

Press release ~ Corston Report ~ Together Women Programme: Equality Impact Assessment ~ Focus on female offenders: the Real Women Programme – Probation Service pilot ~ Women in Prison - What is the government doing?


DWP:  The Government's Office for Disability Issues (ODI) new report - Public Bodies' Response to the Disability Equality Duty - reveals that more than half of public authorities have published a Disability Equality Scheme with the involvement of disabled people. 


Since 4 December 2006, all public sector bodies have been required by law to set out how they plan to promote equality for disabled people in a Disability Equality Scheme.  Of those organisations who have complied, three quarters have involved disabled people in the production of their scheme.

Press release ~ Office for Disability ~ Public Bodies' Response to the Disability Equality Duty  ~ Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People ~ Improving Information for Disabled People (1.5Mb) ~ Five principles for producing better information for disabled people ~ Disability Equality Duty - The DRC ~ 'Able Authorities: the Disability Discrimination Act, Local Authorities and Disabled People' ~ Disability Discrimination Act 2005 ~ RNID: The Disability Discrimination Act - a guide for service providers ~ Race for Health ~ Acas Equality & Diversity website ~ LSC Disability Equality Scheme ~ Directgov – Disability Equality Duty ~ ‘Learning for Living and Work: Improving Education and Training Opportunities for People with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities’ ~ Little Report: Through Inclusion to Excellence ~ Disability Agenda ~ DRC – Services and Transport ~ Equality for Disabled in Wales


NAO:  Building and improving the country’s roads are proving to be more expensive than originally estimated, according to a new report published by the National Audit Office, which looks at the Highways Agency’s investment in motorways & major trunk roads and local authority major roads schemes funded by the Department for Transport.


Most schemes enter the roads programme at an early stage with only an indicative estimate of costs, and insufficient information on the design, scope & timing of the final scheme to form an accurate view of the likely final costs.  Other reasons for cost increases include underestimates of construction, land and utility costs.

Press release ~ Estimating and monitoring the costs of building roads in England (1.5Mb) ~ Executive Summary ~ Transport 2000: Road cost escalation worse than NAO suggests ~ Road Block - Alliance Against Roadbuilding


Defra:  The first on-the-ground research into whether there are any adverse health effects associated with alternate week collection of waste for recycling & residual waste has been published and the research claims to find no evidence of adverse health impacts with alternate week collections compared to weekly collections.


The report concludes that common-sense measures, such as keeping waste tightly wrapped and bin lids closed, can ‘help’ to deal with any potential increases in odour, insects, or other nuisance that could be associated with alternate weekly collections.

Press release ~ 'Health Impact Assessment of Alternate Week Waste Collections of Biodegradable Waste'  ~ Defra, UK - Recycling and Waste ~ Waste Implementation Programme (WIP) ~ ~ Defra: Review of England’s Waste Strategy 2006 ~ Waste Infrastructure Development Programme (WIDP) ~ LA support website ~ Household Waste Prevention Action Plan ~ Waste Minimisation - SEPA ~ Environment and greener living : Directgov ~ OGC - Second Kelly Market - Waste Management ~ Reducing the reliance on landfill in England ~ Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) ~ Improving Congestion and Capacity Planning in the Municipal Waste Market ~ Review of targets for recycling and composting of household waste and their interaction with other targets

Legislation / Legal

DCLG:  Planning Minister Yvette Cooper has announced a package of new measures that are intended to help ensure councils can crackdown on companies who continue to advertise illegally on England's roads.  From last week, local planners will be able to track offenders on a new national database, with those companies prosecuted for repeat offending being 'named & shamed'. 


To support this, new regulations also published last week, update & improve the current arrangements for controlling outdoor advertisements and make the legislation more responsive to rapidly changing forms of advertising.  These regulations come into force on 6 April 2007.

Press release ~ Control of Advertisements Regulations 2007 ~ Control of Advertisements Regulations: Summary of Consultation Responses ~ Regulatory Impact Assessment: The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 ~ Planning Advisory Service (PAS) ~ Blots on the Landscape - removing advertising from motorways and major roads ~ Planning Portal - Outdoor ads & signs ~ ~ PPG19 Outdoor Advertisement Control ~ Town and Country (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 ~ CPRE campaign

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

Defra:  A consultation document (closes on 4 June 2007) on the proposals for enforcement of the REACH Regulation in the UK has been published.  REACH, (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) was agreed by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers on 18 December 2006 and the Regulation will come into force on 1 June 2007.


It will form the EU's framework legislation for the management, control & use of chemicals, replacing much of the current patchwork of over 40 pieces of legislation and the UK is required to have an enforcement & penalties regime in place no later than 1 December 2008.


REACH will apply not only to chemicals manufacturers or suppliers, but to any business which uses chemicals - so a wide range of businesses will be affected by the enforcement arrangements proposed. 


The consultation document considers:

·         who should carry out enforcement of the requirements of REACH

·         the powers they will need (e.g. to obtain information, carry out inspections, collect evidence, issue enforcement notices etc) and

·         the level and type of penalties for breaches of REACH requirements

Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ Defra - Chemicals ~ Defra - Future EU Chemical Policy ~ HSE - Chemicals ~ REACH – A summary guide ~ DTI - Chemicals ~ Chemical industries Association ~ Greenpeace


DfT:  Shipping Minister Stephen Ladyman has launched a consultation (closes 14 September 2007) on proposed changes to the Race Relations Act aimed at ensuring that it complies with EU law relating to the freedom of movement of workers.


Section 9 of the Act contains an exception for seafarers who are recruited abroad.  This means that they can be discriminated against on the grounds of nationality in relation to pay an this exception needs to be changed.


The purpose of the consultation is to assess the impact that changing the Act would have on seafarers and on the industry.  Wage patterns may change and there is a risk that shipowners will flag out of the UK.

Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ DfT - Shipping ~ UK Ship register


Defra:  The government has published the approved National Allocation Plan and final list of installation-level allocations for industry for Phase II of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme.  


The final list sets out the annual allocations for individual installations covered by the scheme for the years 2008-2012.  The list also removes the smallest emitters (encompassing 12% of installations), who account for just 0.3% of emissions in the Scheme.

Press release ~ Defra: Phase 2 National Allocation Plan ~ European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme ~ EU Report ~ Stern Review – Creating a global price for carbon ~ Emissions Trading: UK Government Vision ~ UK Forum for Environmental Industries ~ Environmental Industries Commission ~ UK Manifesto ~ Emissions Trading Registry ~ The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Regulations 2005 ~ IETA - International Emissions Trading Association ~ Kyoto Protocol - Emissions Trading ~ EU Environment - Emission Trading Scheme

Charity and Voluntary Sector

Business and other briefings

FSA:  The Financial Services Authority (FSA) have said that ‘general insurance intermediaries holding client money have no excuse for failing to protect it adequately after recent work found that those who used its new Client Money Guide showed a marked improvement’.


Between September and December 2006 the FSA conducted its third phase of client money work visiting 161 general insurance intermediaries.  Results showed that most intermediaries in the sample who had used the FSA's new tools provided to help them, which include the Guide to Client Money and a web-based training course, had a better understanding of client money handling than in previous FSA work on this issue.


The FSA's findings showed that the main areas where its tools helped intermediaries improve their client money compliance were regularly doing a client money calculation correctly; segregating client money in trust accounts within one day of receiving funds; and arranging for client money systems and controls to be audited.

Press release ~ FSA - Client Money ~ Guide to client money for general insurance intermediaries ~ Web-based training course ~ Dear CEO letter in July 2005


HMRC:  HM Revenue & Customs Brief 23/07
This Brief gives details of an article concerning : VAT: Partial exemption special method approvals


HMRC:  HM Revenue & Customs Brief 22/07
This Brief gives details of an article concerning : Elections under regulation 6(3A) of the Disregard Regulations: some gudance for companies.

Industry News

Forthcoming Event

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